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Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread, 699
Shakes off the dust, and rears his rev'rend head.
Then sculpture and her sister-arts revive ;
Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live ;
With sweeter notes each rising Temple rung;
A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung.
Immortal Vida : on whose honour'd brow 705
The Poet's bays and Critic's ivy grow :

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ceeded fo well, as to bring good Letters into fashion : to which he gave new fplendor, by preparing for the press correct editions of many of the best ancient writers, both ecclefiaftical and prophane. But having laughed and shamed his age out of one folly, he had the mortification of seeing it run headlong into another. The Virtuosi of Italy, in a superftitious dread of that monkish barbarity which he had so fes terely handled, would now ufe no term (for now almost every man was become a Latin writer) not even when they treated of the highest mysteries of Religion, which had not beeni consecrated in the Capitol, and dispensed unto them from the sacred hand of Cicero. Erasmus observed the growth of this classical folly with the greater concern, as he discovered under all their attention to the language of old Rome, a certain fondness for its religion, in a growing impiety which disposed them to think irreverently of the Christian Faith. And he no sooner discovered it than he fet upon reforming it ; which he did so effectually in the Dialogue, intitled CiceRONIANUS, that he brought the age back to that just temper, which he had been, all his life, endeavouring to mark out to it: Purity, but not Pedantry, in LETTERS; and Zeal, but not Bigotry, in RELIGIƠN. In a word, by employing his great talents of genius and literature on subjects of general importance; and by opposing the extremes of all parties in their turns; he completed the rare character of a TRUE CRITIC and an HONEST MAN,

Cremona now Thall ever boast thy name,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!

But soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd,
Theirancient bounds the banish’d Muses pass’d.710
Thence Arts o'er all the northern world advance,
But Critic-learning flourish'd most in France;
The rules a nation, born to serve, obeys ;
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis’d, 715
And kept unconquer'd, and unciviliz'd;
Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold,
We still defy'd the Romans, as of old.


VER.708. As next in place to Mantua,] Alluding to

Mantua væ miferæ nimium vicina Cremona. Virg.

COMMENTARY. VER. 709. But soon by impious arms, etc.] This brings us to the third period, after learning had travelled ftill farther Weft; when the arms of the Emperor, in the fack of Rome by the duke of Bourbon, had driven it out of Italy, and forced it to pass the Mountains-The examples he gives in this period, are of Boileau in France, and of the Lord Rorcommon and the Duke of Buckingham in England : And these were all Poets as well as Critics in verse. It is true, the last instance is of one who was no eminent poet, the late Mr. Walsh. This small deviation might be well overlooked, were it only for its being a pious office to the memory of his friend : But it may be farther justified, as it was an homage paid in particular to the MORALS of the Critic, nothing being more amiable than the character here drawn of this excellent per fon. He being our Author's Judge and Censor as well as Friend, it gives him a graceful opportunity to add him

Yet some there were, among the founder few
Of those who less presum’d, and better knew, 720
Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
And here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws.
Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell,
“ Nature's chief Master-piece is writing well.”
Such was Roscommon, not more learn’d than good,
With manners gen'rous as his noble blood ; 726

COMMENTARY. self to the number of the later Critics, and with a character of his own genius and temper, sustained by that modesty and dignity which it is so difficult to make consistent, this performance concludes.

I have here given a short and plain account of the Elay on Criticism; concerning which, I have but one thing more to acquaint the reader : That when he considers the Regularity of the plan, the masterly Conduct of each part, the penetration into Nature, and the compass of Learning throughout, he should at the same time know, it was the work of an Author who had not attained the twentieth year of his age.

NOTE s. Ver. 723. Such was the Muse-] Elay on Poetry by the Duke of Buckingham. Our Poet is not the only one of his time who complimented this Elay, and its noble Author. Mr. Dryden had done it very largely in the Dedication to his translation of the Æneid ; and Dr. Garth in the first Edition of his Dispensary says,

“ The Tyber now no courtly Gallus fees,

“ But smiling Thames enjoys his Normanbys ;" Tho' afterwards omitted, when parties were carried so high in the reign of Queen Anne, as to allow no commendation to an opposite in Politics. The Duke was all his life a steddy adherent to the Church of England Party, yet an Enemy to the extravagant Measures of the Court in the reign of Charles II. On which account, after having strongly patronized Mr. Dryden, a coolness succeeded between them on that poet's



To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And ev'ry author's merit, but his own.
Such late was Walsh--the Muse's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend; 730
To failings mild, but zealous for desert;
The clearest head, and the sincereft heart.
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive,
This praise at least a grateful Muse may give: 734
The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing,
Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing,
(Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise,
But in low numbers short excursions tries :
Content, if hence th' unlearn’d their wants may

The learn'd reflect on what before they knew :
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame;
Averse alike to flatter, or offend;
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.

absolute attachment to the Court, which carried him some
lengths beyond what the Duke could approve of. This no-
bleman's true character had been very well marked by Mr.
Dryden before,

The Muse's friend,
Himself a Muse. In Sanadrin's debate
True to his prince, but not a Nave of state.

Abs. and Achit.
Our Author was more happy ; he was honoured very young
with his friendship, and it continued till his death in all the
circumstances of a familiar esteem. P.


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